The toughest job for a manager is managing the people. Sometimes you get very lucky and get an exceptional group who has a strong work ethic, is dedicated, fair and who work well together. Considering that families don’t have an idyllic existence, why should a business?
When hiring employees, it’s is reasonable to have a healthy dose of skepticism. The key word here is “healthy”. If you go beyond the references that the candidate has provided you run the risk of finding someone or company that the candidate didn’t fit with for some reason, or that the candidate has grown and improved since the encounter. There are also serious differences in perceptions of events, and the employer may have created rationalizations for firing an employee or why the employee quit. Today’s reference check is the candidate who you are skeptical of tomorrow – never assume that you are getting the true picture from these “self discovered” references.
I ask candidates to provide me with 3-5 references who can give me a good picture of them as an employee and as a person. A supervisor or two, a former peer or two, and maybe a subordinate would be a good combination of references. Some of these can come from outside the company as well. Through your questions you can see what the person knows and what they can attest to. I wouldn’t dismiss volunteer work either – that is where you may get the employee at their “best”, where the pressure of work and income is off. Too many companies box employees in, constraining them to certain tasks and feeding a climate of fear. Maybe the employee just needs the right employer – I’ve seen that a number of times, and been there myself.
A recruitment process should have a framework to it:
1. A job description should be available,
2. You should identify the key skills and knowledge that the person should have
3. Have 2-3 people interview each candidate separately.
4. Never hire based upon one interview
5. Check references and education
6. Google the person.
It’s become in vogue to run a credit report on candidates on the theory that a poor score reflects the candidate’s inability to manage their personal lives, and that they are more likely to steal. There is absolutely no study – not a one – that documents either of these notions. The way the credit score is compiled often runs counter to intelligent decisions by the consumer.
The sum of this advice? Devote time and attention to interviewing – never hire fast, hire right!